Scientific Foundation of Space Weather

Last summer I participated The Scientific Foundation of Space Weather workshop that was held at the International Space Science Institute in Bern, Switzerland. The city of Bern is beautiful and when walking through its historic centre you come across the Einstein’s house and the clock tower that inspired Einstein to discover the theory of relativity.

The meeting collected about 40  scientist to discuss the physics and physical processes governing space weather and how they link to each other from the Sun to the Earth. The workshop participants also wrote several review articles that are published in Space Science Reviews topical collection. I was leading the paper titled Geoeffective Properties of Solar Transients and Stream Interaction Regions. In this paper we review the solar wind properties of sheaths, coronal mass ejections (CMEs), shocks and slow-fast stream interaction regions that are relevant for driving space weather storms. One of our key focuses  is to highlight how complex the solar wind – magnetosphere coupling really is and how different large-scale heliospheric transients are in driving space weather storms. The role of the magnetosheath, coupling of different domains, and understanding how kinetic effects and local processes affect the global response are among the major challenges of the future. The other paper The Physical Processes of CME/ICME Evolution I contributed was led by Ward Manchester. In this paper we give a fresh perspective on dramatic evolution CMEs may experience during their propagation through the corona and interplanetary space. We discuss physical processes that define how CMEs rotate, deflect and deform, and how they interact with other CMEs and the ambient solar wind. The overview paper Achievements and Challenges in the Science of Space Weather by Hannu Koskinen et al. ends with an insightful remark The challenges to improve practical space weather services cannot be met using more efficient computational methods and tools alone. Deep understanding of the underlying physics and innovative ideas to improve the understanding remain basic requirements of all progress in space weather activities.”

Bern is an inspiring place to have a meeting. This is a clock tower in Bern that inspired Einstein to unravel the secrets of moving at the speed of light.